All stranded railway passengers had been safely evacuated as of Wednesday morning and no passengers were killed or injured as a result of Monday's devastating earthquake in southwest China, a spokesman for the Ministry of Railways said here on Wednesday.
Wang Yongping told reporters that more than 180 freight and passenger trains were forced to stop en route when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the southwestern province of Sichuan.
Of those trains, 31 were passenger trains that were carrying tens of thousands of people, said Wang.
Fortunately, there was no rail accident and no passengers were hurt or killed by the massive earthquake, which had claimed more than 12,000 lives as of Tuesday afternoon, the spokesman told reporters.
He also said that traffic on the lines interrupted by the quake had all resumed as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, except the 669-km Baoji-Chengdu railway, which linked Sichuan Province with the neighboring province of Shaanxi.
He confirmed that an extension railway that linked Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, with Du Jiangyan, which is very close to the epicenter of Wenchuan County, had resumed operation two days after the quake.
The resumption of service on the 59.8-km line was of great significance because rescue workers and relief goods would be able to reach areas hit hardest by the earthquake, said Wang.
The Baoji-Chengdu line was still cut off by a landslide in a tunnel in Huixian County, Gansu Province, as well as some bridge displacements and damage to the line, said the spokesman. He said the line was hardest hit by the earthquake, which caused damage to roadbeds and bridges.
Some 1,000 workers were racing the clock for repairs, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)